by Dan Tiernan, COO, Campbell Property Management

This is an ongoing series where we will explain the meaning of an unusual or interesting word; words or phrase that is relevant in community association management. Hence the name – What is that Word Wednesdays!

This week’s word is Ameliorate.

Although this word is not commonly used, it’s definition is simple:

Make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better.
“the reform did much to ameliorate living standards”
synonyms: improve, make better, better, make improvements to, enhance, help,benefit, boost, amend.

Emotional support animalSo what does this have to do with Condos? Well, the only time I have ever heard or read this word is when the topic was emotional support animals, or their cousins: assistance animals and service animals.

In order for an owner or resident to receive an accommodation for their animal (i.e. an exception to the “no pet” rule), the following two questions need to be answered:

1. he/she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities AND

2. that the animal will ameliorate the disability.

By the way, major life functions include: sleeping, eating, bathing, walking, and working. Don’t you just love the way this phrase is open-ended, leaving the option to add more items as major life functions?

The point of all this? If your condominium receives a letter documenting the above two points, you may have a difficult time denying the request for an accommodation. If the letter uses the word ameliorate, then that tells you that someone has likely studied up on this and understands what is necessary to be granted as an accommodation.

Has your condo run into problems with granting accommodations for emotional support animals?

Disclaimer: I am not an attorney and this is not meant to be legal advice.